Skip to main content

Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

See other formats


to prepare students for the universities, and various changes were
made in their constitution. To ensure worthy teaching, a special
examination—the examen pro facilitate docendi—was instituted
for teachers in these schools, and secondary teaching, which had
previously been a side pursuit of the clergy, became an indepen-
dent profession on an equality with other professions. A new
curriculum was drawn up for the schools, intended to provide an
all-round education, and including Latin, Greek, German, Mathe-
matics and Science. The classics were made the central study,
but greater importance was attached to acquaintance with the
great writers of antiquity than to the formal composition hi Latin
which hitherto had largely monopolized the school programme.
This formed the one and only course of study for entrants to the
university; and as it involved the transfer of a considerable
amount of the work formerly done in the Arts faculties of the
universities to the schools, it brought about the prolongation of
school life to the age of twenty or thereabouts, to cover the nine
years* course required for the new Leaving Certificate. At the
same time as the secondary schools proper were reorganized,
provision was made for the requirements of middle-class boys in
special higher schools with a six years' course. Some of these,
called progymnasien, taught the same subjects as the gymnasun,
but excluded Greek; others omitted the classics altogether, and
substituted French and science. But it was not till 1832 that
the passing of a Leaving Certificate examination at the completion
of this shortened course was allowed to confer the privilege of
one year's service in the army and give access to minor official

The reorganization of the primary schools was less satis-
factory than that of the universities and the secondary schools.
Von Humboldt shared the desire of Fichte and all the more pro-
gressive thinkers of Prussia for the establishment of a system of
education that would help to uplift the common people, but his
efforts were thwarted to some extent by a reactionary distrust
of popular education on the part of the king and many of the
upper classes* Nevertheless, very considerable reforms were
effected, and a serious attempt made to instil the spirit of
Pestalozzi's methods into the primary schools;. A number of young
" m&r wore sent to study Pestalozzi's work at Yyercfon, acid tfa£se
"on their return were set to reconstruct the primary-school system.*